After four weeks of informational picketing, everyday for 2 hours outside of Janus Youth Programs’ main office at 707 NE Couch St, workers at the Streetlight/Porchlight shelters and at Harry’s Mother finally gained the right to keep their peer review panel. Both Streetlight/Porchlight and Harry’s Mother are non-profit programs serving youth, and both shops are under contract with the Portland Industrial Workers of the World. Janus told workers at both work sites that they would not sign their labor contracts with the peer review panels that they have had for over 10 years – instead trying to pressure workers into accepting binding arbitration at a cost workers and the IWW could not afford.
After four weeks of picketing, workers took a break for week five, a week that a contract negotiations session with management was scheduled. Management tried to get workers to accept a ridiculously long contract of 8 years, with wage re-openers every two years, in exchange for the keeping the peer review panel. Workers instead said they were only willing to go as long as a 6 year contract, with wage re-openers every 2 years and one additional, non-wages article which could be bargained during the wage re-opener.
Janus negotiators were not willing to budge.
At this point, workers suggested that the offer they were making was more than reasonable, and that there were people willing to get back out on the picket line if Janus would not compromise.
Janus’s negotiators took a caucus, and after a long break, returned to the table and agreed to the workers’ terms.
This is a huge victory for workers who have struggled many weeks for the right to keep their peers in a place to oversee any disputed firings – the peer review panel can overrule any firing decisions that Janus makes against its union workers. Janus workers and the IWW would like to thank the members of the community who have supported them in this effort, including Portland’s Jobs with Justice. A victory for one is a victory for all.